Well, Nora is officially DONE with transfusions and blood checks and has been released from her hematologist! A couple weeks ago she had her blood drawn for the last time at Children’s Hospital and I was so excited that it was the last time I would have to drive all the way to Birmingham and watch them stick her with a needle. Nora wasn’t that excited about it.
The next day, when I called to find out her numbers, the nurse told me they had only checked her iron and not her hemoglobin, hematocrit or retic. Her iron level is completely irrelevant and has nothing to do with this type of anemia. I was surprised at the rush of emotion when I found out we weren’t really done and that Nora would have to have another blood draw. I broke down in tears, frustrated with the hospital for running the wrong test and frustrated with myself for not making sure they were ordering the right blood tests. I was sad that Nora would not be cleared by Halloween like I was hoping.
This Halloween was the very first holiday that I wasn’t dreading since losing Lucy. It’s a huge milestone in my grief journey. I never thought I could enjoy a holiday again, but this year I was ok with it, even looking forward to it a little. Nora was going to be a ghost and the boys were ninjas.
On Halloween Nora woke up feeling very irritable and she wouldn’t nurse. She started screaming and WOULD NOT STOP. She sounded like she had a little congestion and a cough but soon started having a little trouble breathing. She was grunting and occasionally gasping for air. Since I didn’t have her latest blood work results I wasn’t sure if she was anemic or not (although I suspected that she wasn’t since she was still pink.) We had to take her to the emergency room. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of severe anemia and we didn’t want to take any chances. The saddest part was when the nurses couldn’t get Nora’s vein because she was so tiny and slightly dehydrated. They tried four times before they finally were able to draw enough blood for the tests. We were so relieved when her counts came back normal. Her hematocrit was 42 and her hemoglobin was 14! She did have bronchiolitis and an ear infection which were causing her all the discomfort, and it was kind of a let down to spend Nora’s first Halloween in the hospital, but it was so exciting to see her numbers looking so good! And she did end up getting cleared for good by Halloween like I had hoped 🙂
We feel so incredibly relieved that all of the medical dangers caused by these horrible antibodies are now behind us. Nora is a “normal” baby now and is producing her own red blood cells with nothing in her blood to destroy them. Not only is Nora done, but we are done trying for our rainbow baby and that desperate desire for a third living child has been satiated (thank you, Jesus!) Our family can relax and we are now trying to focus on recuperating from the past three years. We have had one tragedy after the next and even though it ended in the best way imaginable, this high risk pregnancy with Nora and her birth were so exhausting. We are depleted, financially and emotionally. We are slowly trying to pay off our medical bills and climb out of debt that we fell into during the “adoption.” How I wish there was a way to get all of that money back from Kailee and Peter. We are also trying to give Liam and Asher a lot of attention since they have had to endure so much in their little lives. Lucy, Scarlet and Nora have been our main focus since 2012 and now we are finally able to pour ourselves into our sons. It is so fun. I just finally “set up” their bedroom since I never had time to after we moved in last fall. I made their names out of fun letters and put them on the wall, rearranged the furniture, got rid of Asher’s toddler bed and I’m still working on some really cute bookshelves to go on the wall. Asher was so excited when he saw the small changes I had made that he said, “This is my favorite room I ever had!” It is so nice to be able to just be in my home with my children, with no pressing emergency or giant obstacle to overcome.
Josh and I are finally able to focus on our marriage and work on just enjoying being with each other again. Losing a baby puts so much strain on a marriage, not to mention an adoption gone wrong and a very high risk pregnancy. We love being able to just enjoy normal little things together again (things that seemed frivolous and meaningless in the midst of grief.) We watch Netflix and go for walks and plant vegetables and herbs in our fall/winter garden. We go to church together and are able to plan fun things like camping trips and what to cook for Thanksgiving. Even though we still have a lot of healing to do and our Lucy wound still gapes, I feel like we are finally able to slow down and enjoy life again.
As I go about my day, a phrase often comes to mind, “He brought me out into a broad place.” It comes from Psalm 18:
Psalm 18:19 He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
Thank you, Lord, for rescuing me and for rescuing Nora. I know we will probably face more adversity, pain and loss in the future, like everyone does, but I love this place you have brought me into right now. I praise you for the miraculous things you have done in my life and for this time of respite and restoration.